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florist on laptopOur friends over at ACMA have put together a fantastic article on the first processes a business should take when considering moving to the online space. Their tips and research are an invaluable tool to any individuals considering making the transition to the online space. 

While many small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are aware of the benefits of digital communications technologies—devices, applications and systems that transmit digital data to enable interaction and communication—some are choosing to be late adopters, according to new ACMA research.

The reasons vary—some don’t want to be guinea pigs; others find that information overload makes it hard to judge what technologies are most suitable. SMEs are also looking for guidance from trusted information sources to help them make those choices—for example, their industry organization.

The research highlighted that if you’re an SME, digital communications technologies can benefit your business in a number of ways—you may save on costs, reach more customers and improve their experience. But you need to feel confident in this brave new world.

So, if you’re an SME considering taking the plunge into these new and exciting technologies, this research suggests that you check out the following tips to help you find your digital direction:

1. Educate yourself — talk to your peers and industry bodies, and research tech brands to find out what works best for you. Feel like it’s all too much information? That’s understandable too. Take your time when looking into the different options available for new technologies and do your research. Be wary of advice that isn’t clear, credible and impartial.

2. Consider the opportunity cost — if you decide not to adopt new technologies, make sure that’s not going to affect the sustainability or success of your business in the future.

3. Start off simple — experimenting with apps and social media can be a good first step and can offer low-cost solutions as simple as social networking.

4. Manage social media risk — online engagement can be a very powerful tool to build your business and customer base, but before you begin have a read of our seven tips to manage social media risk.

5. Stay safe online — just because you’re a small company doesn’t mean there aren’t big risks—from hackers, scams, malware and phishing. You could lose money, customers—and reputation—if your door is left open to cyber criminals. Anti-virus software is not enough. Our internet security blogs explain how to avoid becoming a victim.

6. Remember that ignorance is no excuse — SMEs need to be aware of obligations such as privacy, spam and telemarketing restrictions. Check our successful e-marketing blogs for further information and the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner for the 13 Australian Privacy Principles covering the collection, use, disclosure and storage of personal information.

You can find out more about ACMA and their research into how SMEs use digital technology here